Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 7 - RFID tags in Organ Donation and Retail

RFID technology is, well, fascinating.  An example of RFID technology in use comes from Maryland.  The Medical Examiners Office is using RFID tags on cadavers.  By automating all organ donor information of an RFID tag the Examiners Office was able to increase effective organ donations by an estimated 50-70%.   Organ donations operate under extremely tight schedules, as the window for viable transplant is very small.  By using RFID tags they were able help create a more efficient system that decreased lag time and saved lives.  

The second potential use of RFID technology is in retail.  While many companies already use RFID tags in their supply chain process and inventory management systems one area that remains unexplored are the end user applications.  By putting RFID tags on the consumer, via a rewards card or store credit card, individual retail stores could track a consumer as soon as they enter the store.  Associates could then more effectively meet the needs of each individual customer.  For example if a customer buys clothing for a teenager every year at the same time, the system could target items for a teenage birthday when the customer walks in during that ‘birthday’ window.  Taking this step on step further interactive displays, in the form of touch screen TVs can target a customer with a welcome message and special discounts.  All this is now possible with the cost reductions in RFID tags.  


As the above web site’s name (spychips) might indicate, not everyone appreciates this technology.  Many people see this level of detail into their “private” lives as an intrusion.  But in a day when Facebook and Giant Eagle Advantage cards track your every move anyway is this technology much different? 

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